How Connected is Texas? Broadband Coverage Maps Give New Insights
How’s The Broadband Coverage Where You Live?
With the current COVID-19 situation more people than ever are working from home. While some of us may have blazing fast broadband, others compare our Internet speed to a snail stuck in syrup. Many of us have quickly realized internet speed is a critical factor for work and school. Unreliable or slow speeds can be frustrating, and costly for residents and businesses. “Buffering” is a bad word!
So, if you’re wondering how your broadband coverage compares to other areas, check out the new broadband (high-speed internet) coverage maps from Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas).
The maps provide updated details on internet speeds and coverage for all 254 counties across the Lone Star State. Coverage maps now include additional input from residents, businesses, and communities. They also add new, more granular data from internet service providers (ISPs).
“Connected Nation Texas released broadband coverage maps in January. At the time, it was the first statewide, comprehensive map update for Texas in five years,” said Jennifer Harris, State Program Director, CN Texas. “Those initial maps were designed to be a starting point for public feedback and additional data collection. We have spent the last six months gathering public feedback and working with providers to get updated granular information reflecting their coverage.”
Expanding Broadband Access Across Texas
CN Texas is a local division of Connected Nation (CN), a national nonprofit working to expand access, adoption, and use of broadband and its related technology to all people. CN has worked with individual communities across Texas since 2009. In 2019, thanks to funding from the Texas Rural Funders, a statewide effort was launched to connect all Texans.
“The coronavirus crisis has made the need for statewide adoption more critical than ever. As Texans prepare for life in a post-COVID world, universal access to broadband will be a lifeline to the new economy. With in-person services severely limited, Texans will continue to rely on broadband internet access to speak with healthcare providers; to attend classes; to work from home; or to shop online; and to apply for government benefits,” said Harris. “Having better maps is key to ensuring that we are truly identifying the areas that are unserved or underserved so we are more effectively working toward and finding solutions for closing the Digital Divide in Texas.”
State & County Broadband Coverage Maps
In addition to state-level maps, each county has four maps based on four different download and upload speeds for internet service. You can find your county map and review its updated information by heading to https://connectednation.org/texas/2020-county-maps/. You can also find an interactive map at https://connectednation.org/texas/interactivemap.
“Since the release of the initial maps, we have worked with broadband providers to obtain more granular and detailed service area data. We have also completed analyses that show the density of providers and the density of unserved households as data layers on the interactive map. This gives state and community leaders across Texas a better idea of where internet service is lacking and where there are opportunities to expand that access,” said Ashley Hitt, GIS Services Director, Connected Nation (CN). “We will continue working with providers on updates to their coverage areas for the next map update in December 2020, in addition to collecting public feedback on the maps and conducting field validation to confirm and refine service areas.”
“Expanding broadband access for rural Texans was a priority for us before the pandemic. It was important then; it is critical now. Chromebooks and hotspots are not a rural solution. Rural students will be left behind, parents are unable to work from home, and economic development is stifled without broadband,” said Wynn Rosser, president and CEO of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, a member of the Texas Rural Funders.
CN welcomes feedback to help improve the accuracy of their maps.
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